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Old 05-04-2010, 11:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Will Europe soon have a total ban on niqab & burka?

I am getting very frustrated at the political scaremongering going on in Europe regarding the niqab and burka.

On 22 April the Belgium government fell and early elections are expected within weeks and yet among this political crisis the home affairs committee have just voted to ban the wearing of niqab and burka. This still has to pass the upper house of parliament but I would be very surprised if it doesn't pass.

Bacquelaine (the bill's author) admitted there was little problem with full facial covering among Muslims in Belgium, he argued for a preemptive move, saying: "We have to act as of today to avoid [its] development."

Belgium is not alone in striding toward a ban in Europe, Netherlands, France, Italy are all trying and German MEP Silvana Koch-Mehrin, European parliament vice-president, called for a Europe wide ban last Sunday.

So let's have a look at the threat we are facing with some facts and figures:

Belgium - Population 10,708,000 in 2008 - of which it is estimated 100 women wear burka or niqab. So these women represent 0.0009 of the population - 29 of these women were fined, under local rules, in 2009 for wearing burka or niqab.

Denmark - Population 5,493,621 in 2008 - Estimated 203 women wear niqab or burka. That's 0.003% of the population. They were going to ban it's wearing in January but decided not to when they worked out that percentage so decided they might look a bit silly and didn't bother.

France
- Population 62,277,432 in 2008 - Estimated 1,900 women niqab or burka. Again that's just 0.003% of the population. France is currently drafting a bill and has been most vocal about creating a ban but are having trouble getting around the constitution.

I first read this story on the Guardian online and when I went back to re-read the story today found it had been changed and not in a favourable way.

This is the articles history from the website Belgium moves towards public ban on burqa and niqab | World news | The Guardian

Belgium moves towards public ban on burqa and niqab
This article was published on guardian.co.uk at 17.33 BST on Wednesday 31 March 2010. A version appeared on p21 of the Main section section of the Guardian on Thursday 1 April 2010. It was last modified at 00.31 BST on Thursday 1 April 2010.

When I first read it, it quoted a Belgium minister talking about the rights of women and then quoted human rights groups stating this law would do nothing for women's rights and would in fact impede their rights as women refusing to unveil would be forced, by the ban, to not leave their homes.

The key stated purpose of the ban is to promote greater integration and interaction between communities. I wonder how ensuring 0.003% of women in their society, who currently go about their daily lives in public (or there would be no need for the ban), remain imprisoned in their homes is going to promote greater integration or interaction.

Perhaps European countries need to introduce a national dress for each country and legislate that everyone must wear it, surely that is the only way to ensure secularism and integration. Hmmm didn't the communists do that and didn't we fight communism?!!

Now I've never been a fan of the "anti-Islamic conspiracy theory perpetrated by Western governments and Zionists" but I am now asking myself why this article was altered in this way and where else have European governments enacted laws that affect a maximum of 0.003% of the population.

If the ban comes in in Belgium I am seriously considering going over for a weekend wearing my niqab .. if I do I will report back what Belgium prisons look like.

I will leave you with one question ... if you choose to force a woman to remove her niqab or burka how are you any different than the men who force their women to don the niqab or burka? Should it not be a woman's choice?
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Will Europe soon have a total ban on niqab & burka?

It was never a choice to jump into the bag er, burka at the beginning, it was a forced convention, but it is strange is it not how once people get used to impediments they can cling onto them as they have become familiar and the people so conditioned have begun to identify with them.
We need to grow out of medieval thinking, not embrace it.
We are supposed to evolve.
That is the point of this human game we are all playing with all its legal fictions.
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Will Europe soon have a total ban on niqab & burka?

I agree it's over the top - but as I've mentioned in another thread, Islamic states are pretty strict on enforcing standards on Westerners. That makes complaints about European countries trying to enforce their own cultural standards look dangerously hypocritical.
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Will Europe soon have a total ban on niqab & burka?

Personally I think it would nice if people did not conceal themselves in public I find it sinister whether its a Burka or a Hoodie, Balaclava etc.

It would be a shame to have to enforce it by law, though although in Europe as of recently anyway we do tend to respect people human rights whatever they are ?

As for the Burka Niqaab etc I think its fine in Islamic countries but in the West I think it symbolizes separation and I find it insulting that large groups of immigrants want to live in my country but dont want to integrate and keep themselves separate.


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Old 05-05-2010, 12:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Will Europe soon have a total ban on niqab & burka?

hi sally,

this is an important issue, as i think we've said before and i think it merits examination across the entire system. as you know, i don't approve of the niqab, or any religious costume that covers the face; i don't approve of it in principle (for various reasons) and i don't approve of it specifically in european countries for some further reasons. as you also know, i have no problem whatsoever with a) religious clothing that distinguishes adherents of a particular religion and b) religious clothing that is designed to preserve some degree of modesty - my question is more specifically about where and why the line should be drawn. we both agree the line should be drawn somewhere, presumably, we just disagree on where. let's first deal with the arguments you present - do come back at them if you feel i've got them wrong or misrepresented them:

1. "you're only talking about a tiny, tiny percentage of the population"

i accept that we're not about to be overwhelmed by huge swathes of niqabis, but i do think that if you present this as an argument, then it begs the question "so what percentage of the population, or women, or muslim women specifically would have to be niqabi before it was perceived to be an issue?" and further begs the question of *why* it should be an issue in the first place. i am making no value judgement here, but consider some other "socially harmful" behaviour (let's say smoking, for instance) - the issue is not how many smokers there are, but where they do it and what effect it has on others, but even so, there would certainly be an issue arising from critical mass. i do have a slight issue with your statistics, in that the argument could be made that the percentage of the population isn't necessarily what's at issue - if you compare it with the percentage of muslim women, according to adherents.com ( Adherents.com) the islamic population of belgium is somewhere between 120,000 and 350,000, let's say 225,000 for the sake of argument, of which presumably half are women, say 110,000, for the sake of argument, of which 100 wear niqab, so from 0.0009% to 0.1% becomes quite a statistically significant jump. with france ( Adherents.com , say 1m muslim women ) it goes from 0.003% to 0.002%, so you might even say it's less of a problem in france. in denmark, it actually comes out at 0.2%, so even with a crude statistical approach you might conclude that the danish "niqab problem" is twice the size of the belgian one and the french is half! with differences that big, you would have to dig a little deeper into *why* (or why not) the problem exists in the first place. it is of course likely that the ban in belgium is primarily driven by islamophobic prejudice and, therefore, it should be challenged - although this will not address the very real issues raised by public covering of the face by ANYBODY, not just muslim women.

2. "niqabis would be imprisoned in their homes"

effectively, it is being argued that the niqab isolates its wearers from the rest of society, so from "wider society's" point of view, the effect is the same. the question here is what social rules ought to dominate in *public space* - after all, not even belgians allow you to teach or bank naked. i believe the way a similar law has been drafted in italy specifically refers to "any public space where instant identification is necessary", so, the same rules for motorcycle helmets, balaclavas and hoodie tops - which i would also suggest as a standard. i note the italian northern league are trying to change this to specifically outlaw the niqab, which i do consider specific islamophobia. the legal outcome of what you suggest would happen would be a clash between the principle of human rights to access education, work and public services (in other words, niqabis would have to leave the house eventually just to go to the doctor) and the right to cover your face; i suggest that the participatory act would trump the act of segregation both for the niqabi and wider society. by the same token, the niqabi teacher who sued the school here for not letting her teach in a veil was unable to convince the court that she could do her job properly.

3. "it's just as coercive as being forced to wear it in the first place"

duly constituted authorities are entitled to set standards; if you ride a motorbike, the law forces you to wear a helmet, buy insurance and obey the rules of the road. this is making participation in a liberal democracy conditional on adherence to the norms of identification and communication in such a society - in european society, the only people who conceal their faces are those who do not wish to be identified, in other words criminals. obviously i'm not saying niqabis are criminals, but surely the onus is on the niqabis to show why societies should be forced to change their norms? if this is about civil rights, that's what other civil rights protesters did and it was judged in the courts, on the streets and in society that they had made their case. nobody (at least nobody reasonable) is having a go at hijabs, or even jilbabs and abayas - it is the concealment of the FACE alone that is an issue.

furthermore:

Quote:
Perhaps European countries need to introduce a national dress for each country and legislate that everyone must wear it, surely that is the only way to ensure secularism and integration.
you seem to be equating the niqab with the "national dress of islam" - we know it's not fard, so this is not a sustainable argument. you might, however, be able to make a case that inside a mosque it's an allowable stringency, as this isn't public space in the same way - this would be a similar argument to allowing sikhs to wear turbans under certain circumstances but not others. either way it would have to be properly tested - i am not a fan of kneejerk bans which are unlikely to address the real issue.

b'shalom

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Old 05-05-2010, 03:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quran gives permission to use modern facilities?

My 2 pence worth:

Where in the Quran does it give permission to use technology and modern facilities?

Can it not be argued that all muslims should live the stratum/Quality of life ABOVE that of Mohamed the prophet of the 7th Century?

Can it be shown that Islam councils & forbides the modern mode of living, ie.:
A pious Muslim should live without electricity, Radio, television, plumbed water supply, motorcars, ---similar to the way Quakers & Amish demonstrate?

Where in the Quran does it give permission to use technology and modern facilities?

BTW, is not gunpowder composed of desicated pig dung?
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Will Europe soon have a total ban on niqab & burka?

I think bananabrain has touched on the important and wider point.

The wearing of the niqab & burka is not a religious obligation, it's an ethnic and cultural 'obligation' that has been taken up by reactionary elements and enforced upon the public as if it were a religious obligation.

In a discussion on the BBC here in the UK, a Moslem scholar noted that adopting Arab or Persian or Turkish or Afghan cultural habits and practices were not a pre-requisite of Moslem confession ... there is absolutely no reason why a Moslem in the UK need to change his name from John Smith to an Arab name, nor adopt an Arab style of dress. Nor set himself apart from the society in which he lives.

Islam is not an isolationist doctrine, and Islam adapts its expression to local conditions and culture whilst remainint true to its core principles, and always has done.

More importantly, the differences between Sharia Law and its cultural expression are significant (in many cases local interpretation is far more extreme than required by Sharia Law).

The most tragic casualty of the current wave of Islamic Fundamentalism is the silencing of the voice of Islamic Intellectualism something to which the West owes a not insignificant cultural debt.

On the other hand, the rise of Christian Fundamentalism is the United States (and its stirrings in Europe), and Secular Fundamentalism in Europe, only serves to exacerbate the problems, highlight difference and reduce the debate to the level of fear and 'phobia, and silence informed discussion on all sides.

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Old 05-05-2010, 07:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Will Europe soon have a total ban on niqab & burka?

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Originally Posted by bananabrain View Post
not even belgians allow you to teach or bank naked.
If I convert to Digambar Jainism, do I get a religious exemption?
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Old 05-08-2010, 10:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Will Europe soon have a total ban on niqab & burka?

Thanks for all your replies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shawn View Post
It was never a choice to jump into the bag er, burka at the beginning, it was a forced convention,
and who do you think forced me to don niqab?

Quote:
Originally Posted by I, Brian View Post
I agree it's over the top - but as I've mentioned in another thread, Islamic states are pretty strict on enforcing standards on Westerners. That makes complaints about European countries trying to enforce their own cultural standards look dangerously hypocritical.
I answered on the thread Brian but for anyone not reading that one ..... Muslim countries do not claim to be secular or democratic. Western countries do, so they should prove themselves to be so.

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Originally Posted by NiceCupOfTea View Post
As for the Burka Niqaab etc I think its fine in Islamic countries but in the West I think it symbolizes separation and I find it insulting that large groups of immigrants want to live in my country but dont want to integrate and keep themselves separate.
I am not an immigrant but if I want to wear niqab in my own country (UK) and keep myself to myself why shouldn't I be allowed to make that choice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bananabrain View Post
i accept that we're not about to be overwhelmed by huge swathes of niqabis, but i do think that if you present this as an argument, then it begs the question "so what percentage of the population, or women, or muslim women specifically would have to be niqabi before it was perceived to be an issue?" and further begs the question of *why* it should be an issue in the first place.
Hi BB

Good to "speak" to you again. You have of course asked the question yourself ... even if every Muslim woman decided to don niqab or burka in the west why should that be an issue (other than for the purposes of security in banks, airports etc, which as you know I believe authorities should have the right to check faces against id).

Quote:
Originally Posted by bananabrain View Post
i am making no value judgement here, but consider some other "socially harmful" behaviour (let's say smoking, for instance)
how is wearing niqab socially harmful? Secondhand smoke is believed to cause various illnesses including cancer .... so this equates to wearing the niqab how??!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bananabrain View Post
i do have a slight issue with your statistics, in that the argument could be made that the percentage of the population isn't necessarily what's at issue - if you compare it with the percentage of muslim women
You could easily break the statistics down further and say 100% of Muslim women who wear niqab cover their faces ... quick everyone run and hide hee hee. Of course the stats have to come from the percentage of population, my question was where else has a government introduced a law that expressly affects only 0.003 % of the population.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bananabrain View Post
i believe the way a similar law has been drafted in italy specifically refers to "any public space where instant identification is necessary", so, the same rules for motorcycle helmets, balaclavas and hoodie tops - which i would also suggest as a standard.
and yet we already see how this will play out in Italy. Last month a woman wearing niqab, walking to a mosque with her husband, was fined 430 and the police said "We just enforced a local law that stops people from covering their faces near sensitive places such as schools, hospitals or post offices," So already we see that just walking in the same street as a school, hospital or post office is deemed a breach of law, without even trying to enter any of these places.



Quote:
Originally Posted by bananabrain View Post
duly constituted authorities are entitled to set standards; if you ride a motorbike, the law forces you to wear a helmet, buy insurance and obey the rules of the road. this is making participation in a liberal democracy conditional on adherence to the norms of identification and communication in such a society
and yet when helmets were made compulsory Sikh's were exempt from wearing them due to their religious beliefs - the Motor-Cycle Crash Helmets (Religious Exemption) Act 1976 passed by the British Parliament in 1976, Section 2A "exempts any follower of the Sikh religion while he is wearing a turban" from having to wear a crash helmet. Sikh policemen were also exempt from wearing helmets and the police designed a uniform turban, which they still wear now and are currently seeking bulletproof turbans. S11 of the Employment Act 1989 exempts turban-wearing Sikhs from any requirements to wear safety helmets on a construction site.

"The symbolisms of wearing a turban are many from it being regarded as a symbol of sovereignty, dedication, self-respect, courage and piety but the reason all practicing Sikhs wear the turban is just one - out of love and obedience of the wishes of the founders of their faith." - from sikhwomen.com

So my question must be why is it democratic and secular to offer such distinction and exemption to Sikh's but to hide under the kitchen table when I try to wear a symbol of faith? I know your answer will be about security but quite frankly we both know that argument is not the driving force behind this scaremongering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bananabrain View Post
you seem to be equating the niqab with the "national dress of islam" - we know it's not fard,
I am in no way trying to equate wearing niqab with the national dress of Islam and agree it is not fard (however most niqabi's I have spoken to believe very strongly that it is fard), my comment about national dress was in respect of the state dictating how we should choose to dress. In Belgium they talked of giving rights to women by bannng niqab but my feeling is that it will remove their rights and I believe that to be undemocratic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bhaktajan View Post
Where in the Quran does it give permission to use technology and modern facilities?

BTW, is not gunpowder composed of desicated pig dung?
Perhaps you would like to start a thread asking Muslims about technology and pig dung? Here we are discussing the banning of niqab and burka.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas View Post
The wearing of the niqab & burka is not a religious obligation, it's an ethnic and cultural 'obligation' that has been taken up by reactionary elements and enforced upon the public as if it were a religious obligation.
Gosh I think I've just be labelled a reactionary yikes.

Narrated Aisha: The woman is to bring down her Jilbāb from over her head and [then place it] upon her face. Bukhari:6:60:282

Narrated‘Aasim al-Ahwal: We used to enter upon Hafsah bint Sirīn who had put her Jilbāb thus and covered her face with it, and we would say to her: May Allah have mercy on you. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And as for women past childbearing who do not expect wedlock, it is no sin on them if they discard their (outer) clothing in such a way as not to show their adornment” [al-Noor 24:60]. And she would say to us: What comes after that (of the āyah)? We would say: “But to refrain (i.e. not to discard their outer clothing) is better for them”. And so she said: [Referring to, ‘But to refrain is better for them’], “It is to keep the Jilbāb.” Bukhari 3:311:1

Narrated Aisha: "When (the Verse): "They should draw their veils over their Juyubihinna," was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces. Bukhari 60:282:1

From Anas that the Muhammad said: And if one of the women of Paradise looked at the earth, she would fill the whole space between them the earth and the heaven with light, and would fill whatever is in between them, with perfume, and the veil of her face is better than the whole world and whatever is in it." Bukhari 8:572:1


I could provide many such examples. We also know from authentic hadith that not all women at the time of the Prophet wore a face veil but as you can see some did. So while I agree it is not fard I am going to continue wearing it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas View Post
In a discussion on the BBC here in the UK, a Moslem scholar noted that adopting Arab or Persian or Turkish or Afghan cultural habits and practices were not a pre-requisite of Moslem confession ... there is absolutely no reason why a Moslem in the UK need to change his name from John Smith to an Arab name, nor adopt an Arab style of dress. Nor set himself apart from the society in which he lives.
Agreed, I did not change my name when I converted but politics often play a part in scholars opinions and I believe always has done. Just look at Al-Azhar, where FMG was strongly recommended and then suddenly became unIslamic when the government wanted to introduce a ban. Similarly niqab was greeted with delight (not required but seen as an extra act of piety) until the government started banning niqab in government offices (could talk now about the millions in US$ Mobarak receives and influence from the West but I'm sure you get the picture without boring you).
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Old 05-09-2010, 02:15 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Will Europe soon have a total ban on niqab & burka?

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawn
It was never a choice to jump into the bag er, burka at the beginning, it was a forced convention,

Muslimwoman:
and who do you think forced me to don niqab?
Having seen a picture of you in uniform I think you look far too young to have been around at the beginning when this practice was first implemented, which was my point.

I would far rather work at the roots of a thing than be thrashing about in the branches.
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Old 05-09-2010, 02:04 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Will Europe soon have a total ban on niqab & burka?

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I answered on the thread Brian but for anyone not reading that one ..... Muslim countries do not claim to be secular or democratic. Western countries do, so they should prove themselves to be so.
Oh, I quite agree, and I find some of the recent reactionism towards anything Islamic (ie, minarets in Switzerland) as dangerously extreme - on a continent where extremism followed by genocide has been a recurring historical theme.

But, playing advocate here, what we have is the core issue that different countries may decide on different public dress codes in terms of what is and is not acceptable.

Western democracies have long fought against expressions of female control and domination, and are still doing so - and the burka itself does not appear as something religiously required, but instead, is forced upon according to cultural values from domineering patriarchal societies.

In other words, there's an argument the current movement against burkas is not about Islam per se, despite it being politicised so, but instead about whether restrictive Middle Eastern cultural practices should be allowed to be enforced in democratic countries which indeed do seek to protect minorities.

In which case, if any country is intolerant to imported cultural values it fundamentally disagrees with, then why is that so wrong when it is a Western democracy, but entirely acceptable in an Islamic dictatorship?
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Old 05-09-2010, 02:10 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Will Europe soon have a total ban on niqab & burka?

In a place I used to work there was a woman who wore all black with a mask in place. I don't remember what her job was, and I was new there. I think that part of Europe is going to ban masks, and I even think that some Muslim countries will also consider bans on all kinds of masks. Here in the US I don't think that our various listed rights would allow banning them completely; but you can't say that for sure since they are passing things like the Patriot act. I think over the long run, any such full ban would be overturned by court actions. Like in France, there are constitutional obstacles. In our case there is right to an alias, right to privacy, to religion, right to this and that etc.
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Old 05-10-2010, 05:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Will Europe soon have a total ban on niqab & burka?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muslimwoman
I am not an immigrant but if I want to wear niqab in my own country (UK) and keep myself to myself why shouldn't I be allowed to make that choice?
nobody's saying you can't - what is being disputed is a common understanding of the operational definition of "keep myself to myself", which you are assuming and about which i am saying there's an important semantic gap.

Quote:
You have of course asked the question yourself ... even if every Muslim woman decided to don niqab or burka in the west why should that be an issue (other than for the purposes of security in banks, airports etc, which as you know I believe authorities should have the right to check faces against id).
and i've answered it - i don't think it's a problem until the *face* is hidden. however, the security issues are one challenge and the other is the social and communal cohesion angle. if someone wore a balaclava all day at work, i would find it problematic, same way as if they wore a motorcycle helmet; i mean, 70% of communication is facial expression, everyone knows that:

Facial Expression Introduction - Nonverbal Communication with the Face

essentially, covering the face is refusing to *share* in a way that covering the hair, or hands, or genitalia for that matter, simply *isn't*. effectively, it is saying "i can't really talk to you" - that has to be a problem, surely? really, to be fair, the law *ought* to say not just if anyone wants to identify you, you have to unveil but if anyone wants to talk to you, you have to unveil. if you think i'm being unreasonable, just compare the way people talk to each other on the internet or on the phone, where they can't see each others' expressions. haven't you ever got narked with a telephone customer service desk? there are *very* good biological reasons for this. that's what i mean by "socially harmful", the same way as people are uncomfortable around hoodie teenagers, when the kids in question may be perfectly inoffensive.

Quote:
Of course the stats have to come from the percentage of population, my question was where else has a government introduced a law that expressly affects only 0.003 % of the population?
seriously? how about tax laws for the super-rich? how about disability access building regs? it's about the same percentage. in fact, there are a vast number of regulations that only apply in extremely rare circumstances; that is the definition of what constitutes a loophole.

Quote:
and yet we already see how this will play out in Italy. Last month a woman wearing niqab, walking to a mosque with her husband, was fined 430 and the police said "We just enforced a local law that stops people from covering their faces near sensitive places such as schools, hospitals or post offices," So already we see that just walking in the same street as a school, hospital or post office is deemed a breach of law, without even trying to enter any of these places.
right, so that is a test case which has to be fought to establish what the value of "near" is - suppose they say "within 100m of any 'sensitive' place" - firstly, is it workable? is it enforceable? is it reasonable? that is what we have law courts *for*, when laws are badly drafted, they get challenged. in such a case, i would say that selective enforcement might be in breach of discrimination legislation, wouldn't you? either it's discriminatory, or it ain't.

Quote:
and yet when helmets were made compulsory Sikh's were exempt from wearing them due to their religious beliefs - the Motor-Cycle Crash Helmets (Religious Exemption) Act 1976 passed by the British Parliament in 1976, Section 2A "exempts any follower of the Sikh religion while he is wearing a turban" from having to wear a crash helmet. Sikh policemen were also exempt from wearing helmets and the police designed a uniform turban, which they still wear now and are currently seeking bulletproof turbans. S11 of the Employment Act 1989 exempts turban-wearing Sikhs from any requirements to wear safety helmets on a construction site.
i thought you'd mention sikh motorcyclists! again, the point here is not about *safety* strictly speaking, the point is about *the effect of hiding the face*, not the *meaning of religious symbols*. the sikhs were able to successfully argue it in some case, but in some places they weren't:

Dastar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

i would argue, for example, that unless they sign a waiver exempting the other driver in the case of a fault collision, they are putting other people at increased liability of involuntary manslaughter, which is irresponsible. if there is no risk to others, then i've got no issue with it.

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"The symbolisms of wearing a turban are many from it being regarded as a symbol of sovereignty, dedication, self-respect, courage and piety but the reason all practicing Sikhs wear the turban is just one - out of love and obedience of the wishes of the founders of their faith." - from sikhwomen.com
but i have also heard amritdhari (ie orthodox) sikhs argue that guru nanak did not intend it to turn into a symbol of separation from wider society, or to bolster ego or chauvinism; such things would have been anathema to him and, i would argue, muslims ought to feel no differently - and jews, too. we *always* defer to the "law of the land" where risk to human health is involved and, while we're on the subject, there's also a medical issue here:

Middle Eastern women may have vitamin D deficiency | Reuters

i know you can take vitamin d supplements, but that surely can't have been the case for the whole of islamic history, now, can it?

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So my question must be why is it democratic and secular to offer such distinction and exemption to Sikh's but to hide under the kitchen table when I try to wear a symbol of faith?
that is not a great argument - nobody is saying you can't wear a symbol of faith; there are plenty of other halal islamic symbols of faith that don't involve concealing your face, as you well know. by the same token, the sikh's obligation to wear a "sword" "at all times" can be met by a token sword, which is too small to do any harm or is soldered in so it's not removable from its scabbard and, in any case, wearing it at school, for example, has been the subject of much debate and by no means is it clear that sikhs would insist on a schoolchild being obliged to carry a real, usable 6-inch blade, for instance.

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most niqabi's I have spoken to believe very strongly that it is fard
you and i both know that a lot of people believe things are fard when in fact they are not entirely au fait with the actual rules.

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my comment about national dress was in respect of the state dictating how we should choose to dress.
the french aren't saying everyone has to wear berets and onion necklaces, either. the state isn't telling us how to dress, it's saying, in roman-law-code-based states (as opposed to common-law states) what forms of dress it considers contradict key principles of the social fabric.

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politics often play a part in scholars opinions and I believe always has done.
hah, you're not wrong. for me, the problem is not people like you that think the way you do, but people who are doing it to express their distaste for "kaafir" society. similarly, like brian says:

Quote:
Originally Posted by I, Brian
I find some of the recent reactionism towards anything Islamic (ie, minarets in Switzerland) as dangerously extreme - on a continent where extremism followed by genocide has been a recurring historical theme.
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there's an argument the current movement against burkas is not about Islam per se, despite it being politicised so, but instead about whether restrictive Middle Eastern cultural practices should be allowed to be enforced in democratic countries which indeed do seek to protect minorities.
quite - so you can rely on me to be fair about islam per se, but i won't stand idly by while islamist sects attempt to subvert liberal democracy and turn us into suckers - including muslims who know better, which is why they moved here in the first place, where they could actually overcome these restrictive practices.

b'shalom

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Old 05-15-2010, 06:52 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Will Europe soon have a total ban on niqab & burka?

This is an interesting discussion which I've enjoyed reading a pondering.

Forgive me, but, isn't the real issue here one of forced cultural assimilation? Or, a pathetic, for show attempt at such? Perhaps I'm mistaken, not being a European, but it seems that this trend toward cultural suppression is really about playing off xenophobia for purely partisan political purposes. It's hard to see how banning head scarves, minarets, and burkhas either prevents the ghettoization of immigrants are improves public safety in any measurable way. What it does result in is pushback on one hand, and racial fear mongering on the other. That's my take anyway.

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Old 05-15-2010, 10:59 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Will Europe soon have a total ban on niqab & burka?

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Originally Posted by Muslimwoman View Post
I will leave you with one question ... if you choose to force a woman to remove her niqab or burka how are you any different than the men who force their women to don the niqab or burka? Should it not be a woman's choice?
In the state in which I live, we are being forced to drink crappy beer in a fluffy chair while we watch monster trucks and pro wrestling.

I'm thinking of revolting.
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